Jorginho must learn to cope with life under superstar spotlight

Jorginho’s performance in Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United on Sunday was certainly ‘all-action’.

The midfielder dropped the ball quite literally to gift Jadon Sancho United’s opener, before scoring from the penalty spot to earn the Blues a point.

For nearly 20 minutes, Jorginho was one of the most talked about players in the game – and not because of his goal. His inability to clear a simple ball as the last man could prove costly to Chelsea in the title race. This was definitely two points dropped rather than one gained.

It was a lowlight that comes at the end of a rather tumultuous time Jorginho. He missed two crucial penalties in Italy’s World Cup qualifying campaign, and the Azzurri could face Portugal in the playoffs to seal what should have been a secure spot in Qatar.

A tough end to a spectacular year for club and country has rapidly seen Jorginho fall out of Ballon d’Or contention, with Robert Lewandowski and Lionel Messi firmly ahead of him in the proverbial power rankings.

It’s a race that Jorginho shouldn’t have really been in, playing well in two shades of blue but never being a standout for either side, simply fitting into a Venn diagram of Champions League and Euro 2020 winners.

No player will shy away from the grandest individual prize in football if their name is being touted, and the midfielder was hardly brazen about his own chances.

“I don’t want to have too many expectations, but I would be hypocritical if I said I don’t think about [winning the 2021 Ballon d’Or],” he told GloboEsporte earlier this month.

“It’s great if it happens, but if it doesn’t, I won’t complain. I keep my feet on the ground and I focus on something else, I’ve already won the best player of the year by UEFA.

“It’s not up to me to say if I should win the Ballon d’Or, but it would be an incentive for other players, to show that not only goals are taken into account.”

But the public backing by from Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel and international teammate Giorgio Chiellini go beyond ‘I know him so of course I will say nice things about him’ endorsements.

“Jorginho deserves to win the Ballon d’Or. He is a very intelligent player and it is a pleasure to be his coach. He has a great vision of football,” Tuchel said in October.

The fires have been stoked from Jorginho’s entourage – whether that’s himself or those around him – and now he must deal with those consequences under an intense spotlight usually only reserved for goal scorers.

He probably won’t win the Ballon d’Or this year, but that’s the pedestal Jorginho has placed himself on and now is the time to respond – if that’s the level he believes he’s at, he needs to focus on winning next year’s award instead.

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